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Archive for August 13th, 2014

Poll: Bipartisan Support for Air Strikes in Iraq

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Poll: Bipartisan Support for Air Strikes in Iraq
Fifty-eight percent of Americans in a new Huffington Post/YouGov poll supported President Barack Obama’s authorization of air strikes against insurgents in Iraq, while 24 percent said they oppose the move. The air strikes brought a rare moment of bipartisan agreement, with 66 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Republicans supporting the move. Independents expressed less positive opinions, with just half approving.


France to send weapons to Kurds in Iraq

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

France to send weapons to Kurds in Iraq
PARIS (AP) — France will send arms to Kurdish forces in Iraq to support their fight against radicals of the Islamic State group, the presidency announced Wednesday.

Money, Power Draw Young Iraqis to the Islamic State
Many young people from Jurf al-Sakhar in Iraq are volunteering to join the Islamic State (IS) to secure a monthly income.


Hundreds of thousands of Obamacare consumers risk losing coverage

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Hundreds of thousands of Obamacare consumers risk losing coverage
The government is sending final notices to consumers who have yet to resolve questions about their citizenship or immigration status

As Montana Dems look for a Senate nominee, some want Jeff Bridges
Democrats are scrambling to replace Sen. John Walsh, who withdrew from the race after a plagiarism scandal

Hillary Clinton excited to “hug it out” with Obama? “Absolutely!”
After slighting the president’s foreign policy style, the former secretary of state says she’s “looking forward to” seeing him on Martha’s Vineyard


Right-Wing Media Politicize Obama’s Statement On Shooting Death Of Michael Brown

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Right-Wing Media Politicize Obama’s Statement On Shooting Death Of Michael Brown

In the wake of the tragic shooting death of unarmed Missouri teenager Michael Brown, right-wing media outlets attacked President Obama’s uncontroversial statement of condolences and suggested the president was to blame for the state of race relations in the United States.

Unarmed Teenager Shot Dead In Ferguson, MO

Michael Brown, Unarmed Teen, Shot By Police. On August 9, unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri after an alleged confrontation between Brown and the officer. The FBI are now investigating the shooting alongside the St. Louis County Police Department. [Vox.com, 8/12/14]

Protests Erupt Over Brown’s Death. In the days following Brown’s death, local residents in Ferguson protested police brutality. Some of the protests turned violent, with rocks thrown at police and looting. The police responded to the protests with riot gear, tear gas and rubber bullets. [Vox.com, 8/12/14; Los Angeles Times8/11/148/13/14

President Obama Expresses Condolences To The Family Of Michael Brown

President Obama Issues Statement Expressing Condolences To Brown Family, And Called For Healing. In a statement released on August 12, President Obama expressed his condolences to Brown’s family and his community:

The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time.  As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed.  I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve. [Whitehouse.gov, 8/12/14]

Right-Wing Media Attack Obama’s Statement

Fox’s MacCallum Criticized Obama For Responding Too Soon To The Tragedy “Without The Facts.” On the August 13 edition of America’s Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum suggested that Obama issued his statement prematurely, claiming he should “wait for the facts” (emphasis added):

CLIFTON: It speaks to a larger issue in our country of unconscious bias, that we all exist, that has in all systems. Something we need to have with the dialogue. 

MACCALLUM: We don’t know that though, Marjorie, there is tendency to jump in with both feet in these stories.

CLIFTON: Sure.

MACCALLUM:  Look, this boy is gone. All of us feel for his family, that is a tragedy to be sure but we don’t know yet what happened. And some people criticize the president, and say, don’t weigh in. You know, just say, look let’s wait for the facts. Let’s wait and see what happened. But that, Roe, that is not exactly what we heard. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom8/13/14]  

Fox’s Starnes Asked Why Obama Didn’t Offer Condolences For Officer Who Shot Brown. In a series of August 12 tweets, Fox’s Todd Starnes asked why President Obama offered no condolences for the police officer, claiming he was allegedly attacked by Brown: 

Starnes further implied that Obama’s motivation for issuing condolences was racial, pointing to his previous statements on behalf of Professor Henry Louis Gates and Trayvon Martin:

[Twitter.com, 8/12/14, 8/12/14]

The Daily Caller Suggested Obama’s Condolences Were Timed To Increase African-American Turnout In Midterm Elections. The Daily Caller claimed that Obama’s statement on the shooting was calculated to boost black voters in the upcoming November elections. The August 12 article compared the statement to Obama’s address after the death of Trayvon Martin, claiming “it helped increase African-American turnout in 2012.” The article also pointed out that this comes “12 weeks before a critical midterm election where relatively few of Obama’s African-Americans supporters are expected to vote.” [The Daily Caller, 8/12/14]

Right-Wing Media Exploit Shooting To Attack Obama On Race 

WSJ‘s Epstein: Obama “Is Not Well Positioned For The Job Of Leading The Black Population.” In an August 12 op-ed for the Wall Street Journal titled “What’s Missing in Ferguson, Mo.”, Joseph Epstein argued that what has been most missing from the discussion on Ferguson is a strong civil rights leader. Epstein added that Obama cannot fulfill this role because he is not well-respected and admired enough:

President Obama, as leader of all the people, is not well positioned for the job of leading the black population that finds itself mired in despond. Someone is needed who commands the respect of his or her people, and the admiration of that vast–I would argue preponderate–number of middle-class whites who understand that progress for blacks means progress for the entire country. [Wall Street Journal8/12/14]

Breitbart’s Shapiro Hyped “5 Race Riots” To Baselessly Suggest Racial Conflict Has Increased Under Obama Because He Has ‘Energized’ A “Racial Grievance Industry” In The US. In an August 11 post on Breitbart.com, Ben Shapiro explained what he deemed were four other examples of race riots before those in Ferguson, MO that prove Obama has energized the “racial grievance industry based on the tacit threat of violence.” [Breitbart.com, 8/11/14


Neil deGrasse Tyson Is a Nice Man

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Neil deGrasse Tyson Is a Nice Man
Froma Harrop, RealClearPolitics
When I first encountered Neil deGrasse Tyson, I thought, “What a nice man.” He was on the TV screens at New York’s Hayden Planetarium, where he’s director, urging us to behold the wonder of — to use the biblical term — the heavens. That impression only grew on seeing his television show, “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.” Here he bursts with elation over the great scientific breakthroughs, guiding us into the subject with the kindly enthusiasm of the gifted teacher. So imagine my surprise to learn that Tyson has become the object of not just mild disapproval but loathing on the political…

Where Have all the Entrepreneurs Gone (cont.)?
Robert Samuelson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — American businesses are aging, I wrote last week, and a sharp decline in startup companies is a big reason. As the share of young firms shrinks, the surviving companies are naturally older — and this may have huge ramifications for the economy. Established companies may create fewer jobs and innovations than do young businesses. So, what’s happened to America’s vaunted entrepreneurs? The experts I contacted last week had a uniform answer: no one knows. When you write “no one knows,” someone inevitably pops up claiming to know. I shouldn’t have been surprised a few days later to…

The Crisis of American Exceptionalism
Marc Dunkelman, RealClearPolitics
Beneath the barrage of depressing headlines in the nation’s newspapers today lurks a more ominous question: is America in decline? In a recent Time magazine poll, more than 80 percent of Americans expressed a belief that the last several years had seen the United States take a step back. The oft-repeated promise of the American Dream—that the future will be better than the past, and that the next generation will have it better than those who came before—now seems increasingly far-fetched. It’s not difficult to understand why. As one analyst recently pointed out, not…

The West’s Gaza
Jonah Goldberg, RealClearPolitics
The hawks (including me) were wrong about a lot, but some got one thing right. It’s going to be a long war. In the early days after 9/11 there was a lot of talk about a “clash of civilizations” and a long “existential struggle” facing the West. I once asked the late Christopher Hitchens what he felt on that terrible day, and he said he felt no small amount of joy. Not for the suffering and death, but for the fact that the West finally had been awakened to the terrible but necessary struggle before us. And for a time, many liberals bought into the idea that…


UKIP beat Lib Dems on donations

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

UKIP beat Lib Dems on donations
UKIP reports more in political donations to the Electoral Commission in a quarter than the Lib Dems, for the first time.

Trident relocation ‘not impossible’
Moving Trident nuclear submarines out of an independent Scotland would be “very difficult but not impossible”, according to a study.


Judges are not ‘neutral umpires’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Judges are not ‘neutral umpires’
It’s time to adopt a more realistic view of judicial decision-making and the limits of judicial discretion.


Manager Of Ferguson McDonald’s Where Reporters Were Arrested: ‘It’s Just A Terrible Thing’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Manager Of Ferguson McDonald’s Where Reporters Were Arrested: ‘It’s Just A Terrible Thing’
The continued clashes between police and the public in Ferguson, Missouri on Wednesday spilled into a McDonald’s — leaving two journalists arrested and manager Keith Eyer shaken.

“It’s just a terrible thing what happened,” said Eyer, who has worked for the company for 34 years. “It’s a bad thing. It’s just not good.”

Eyer was there when armed officers strode into the fast food joint and ordered out patrons, including Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly and The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery. The pair was in the area to report on the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the protests that followed, where ramped up tensions have escalated into brick throwing, tear gas, molotov cocktails and rubber bullets.

Meanwhile, reporters have been using the McDonald’s as a hub because it has WiFi and electric outlets for charging phones and laptops. But McDonald’s customers were hustled out Wednesday evening in a noisy show of force — and in the confusion, Reilly and Lowery were aggressively cuffed and taken to a Ferguson Police Department holding cell.

The scuffle was unlike anything McDonald’s employees like Eyer had seen before.

“It’s a rough time,” he told Huffington Post, his voice shaky. “But I really think the city will get through it and make it stronger.”

Below, more updates on the situation in Ferguson:


At War Blog: Williams Opposed War, but Supported the Troops

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

At War Blog: Williams Opposed War, but Supported the Troops
Robin Williams went above and beyond the thousands of miles he logged in U.S.O. tours to bring a piece of home to soldiers.



By Sea and by Ladder, Africans Seek Entry to Spain
Migrants from Africa continued to pour across the Mediterranean this week, and Spain’s sea rescue service picked up 681 people traveling in 70 small boats across the Strait of Gibraltar.



Convoy Said to Pause at Russian Base as Questions Persist
Although Kiev appeared to ease its opposition to allowing the convoy to cross the border, issues regarding the inspection and transfer of the aid materials had yet to be resolved.



Sinosphere Blog: Laughing Off Threats in the Fight Against ‘Fake Democracy’
At least one of the leaders of a civil disobedience movement seeking universal suffrage in Hong Kong has received threats that reflect the tensions between those who want a democratic city, and those who want a semi-authoritarian one, at best.




Deadly Superbugs Are Spreading In Our Hospitals And We Don’t Have Any Drugs To Stop Them

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Deadly Superbugs Are Spreading In Our Hospitals And We Don’t Have Any Drugs To Stop Them

Medical experts say this should serve as a “wake up call.”

The post Deadly Superbugs Are Spreading In Our Hospitals And We Don’t Have Any Drugs To Stop Them appeared first on ThinkProgress.

A form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as CRE

A form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as CRE

CREDIT: AP Photo/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are rapidly spreading throughout hospitals in the southeastern United States, according to a new study published in the current issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. Medical experts warn that the findings should serve as a “wake up call” about a serious issue that threatens hospitals and nursing homes across the nation.

The five-year research project tracked a cluster of 25 community hospitals located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that infections due to the potentially deadly germs known as CRE — which are virtually untreatable with our current antibiotics — increased by 500 percent in those hospitals between 2008 and 2012. And they say their new report probably underestimates the recent rise of CRE.

“CRE” refers to a class of bacteria that can lead to infections in the lungs, urinary tract, and blood. Healthy people aren’t typically at risk for becoming infected with CRE; the bacteria tends to strike patients with compromised immune systems who are receiving treatment through catheters and ventilators. Those patients are already vulnerable to begin with, and about half of them die once they’re infected with CRE. The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated CRE as one of the greatest threats to human health, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls it a “nightmare bacteria.”

The medical community has been concerned about CRE for the past decade, and has experimented with new technology to better sanitize health care settings to prevent the spread of the bug. However, as the Duke researchers write, “despite the global emergence of CRE, no clear consensus has emerged in regard to the method of detection.” There aren’t any standard screening or reporting protocols in place.

“This is a wake up call for community hospitals. More must be done to prepare and respond to CRE,” Dr. Joshua Thaden, the lead author of the study, said in a statement. Thaden believes his results point to a nationwide problem, and warns that “a CRE epidemic is fast approaching.”

One of the reasons that superbugs like CRE are on the rise is because of the overuse of antibiotics, which can allow bacteria to adapt and become resistant to the treatments typically used to combat them. This is an issue that’s larger than CRE itself. We’re also running out of effective treatments for common infections like malaria, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and whooping cough. Nonetheless, research to create new antibiotics has stalled — largely because working to develop new drugs isn’t as profitable for the pharmaceutical industry.

Over the past several weeks, most of the attention surrounding public health issues has been dedicated to the potential threat posed by the current Ebola outbreak, which has killed more than 1,000 people in Western Africa. Although that’s certainly a serious international health concern, medical professionals say that it’s nowhere near as big of a threat to Americans as superbugs are.

“Freaking out about Ebola in the U.S. while antibiotic resistant superbugs rampage in our hospitals is like fearing Freddy Kruger will ring the doorbell while Jeffrey Dahmer sits at your dining room table,” Dr. Tim Lahey, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Duke Medical Center, told Jezebel in a recent interview. Lahey referred to the spread of antibiotic resistance as “truly nightmarish” but noted that “because it’s less exotic than Ebola it grips the popular imagination less well.”

The post Deadly Superbugs Are Spreading In Our Hospitals And We Don’t Have Any Drugs To Stop Them appeared first on ThinkProgress.